Letter from the Editor

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Have an average day

Meet my buddy, Joe. Joe is just over 5'7" tall and weighs 175 pounds. He is 34.4 years old. He is married to a nice lady, Susan, just a bit younger than he is, and has two cute kids. His hair is graying, his eyes are brown. He works 42.2 hours a week, and nets $509.46 for it. He is 71.7 percent white, 12.2 percent black, 11.6 percent Hispanic, 3.8 percent Asian, and 0.7 percent Native American. He's a pretty nice guy, a real Mr. Average.

Yep, that's my pal Joe. Actually, you know him too. You may be him. We all are him, sort of.

You see, I just created Joe. He is the embodiment of all the statistics I could find defining what the average American guy is.

Are you him? Is he you? Just how average are we? Read on.

Joe would live in California, but we can't hold that against him. He would work in the service industry.

Joe owes about $51 grand on a house with three bedrooms, and has run up about $2,563 on his two credit cards.

Joe can expect to live around 67 years, although his wife is likely to get 73.

There's a 1-in-3 chance that he will develop a heart disease by age 60. Sometimes Joe scares me.

There's a 1-in-4 chance that Joe has high blood pressure, a 1-in-6 chance he'll get prostate cancer, a 1-in-12 chance of getting diabetes. He'll never play pro sports.

Joe's brain wants 9.5 hours of sleep per night. Joe's body actually gets 6.9 hours.

Okay, because I knew you were going to ask, Joe and his wife make love 1.5 times a week, as if it were any of your business. It lasts an average of 14 minutes. Joe will have 12.4 partners in his life, but his wife will have only four. Behave, you two.

Joe watches too much TV. He exercises less than three times a week, and brushes his teeth 1.9 times per day.

There's a 1-in-5 chance that Joe will be 30 pounds or more overweight at some time in his life. Joe gains 1.1 pounds per year.

Joe eats pizza three times a month, steak twice a week, and consumes 245 eggs per year, which explains Rembrandt Enterprises. He gets about 12 grams of fiber per day - about a third of what he needs. He eats 1.5 servings of fruit each day, but needs four. He downs 3.3 cups of coffee every day and 1.2 alcoholic beverages. He has a total cholesterol count of 202 milligrams, borderline high. Better watch it, Joe-boy.

Joe may not be perfect, but he's no pantywaist. He can do 27 good pushups in a minute.

He can bench press 158 pounds once, and can do 36 situps in a minute. He could run a mile-and-a-half in 12:51. He can throw a football 50 yards.

Joe's wife works, but makes a good deal less than he does. He's got $3,100 in his bank account, but he's piled up about $24,000 in his 401(K) or other retirement investments.

Here's hoping he gets to spend it. Joe is twice as likely to die in a car accident than his wife is. There is a 1-in-7,280 chance that Joe will be murdered.

Joe also stands a 1-11 chance of going to jail at least once in his life. The most likely cause: opting to fight a speeding ticket and forgetting to show up. There's a 1-in-134 chance Joe will get busted for driving drunk. For shame, Joe.

How you feeling, Joe? There's a 1-in-22 chance he's suffering from depression. Based on anti-depressant prescription numbers, his wife is twice as likely to be depressed. Could have something to do with that 14-minute statistic earlier, buddy.

So that's Joe. And you. And me. The sum total of us all, protoplasm and attitude boiled down to a statistical stew.

I got most of those numbers from men's health studies.

There is a 95 percent chance you will become depressed, by the way, from reading men's health studies.

The article, it seems, forgot a couple of key statistics.

If you are an average American male, you will:

- Cut me off for the last parking space on Lake Avenue at least once per month, more when it's raining or snowing.

- Perfect the phrase "I wasn't looking at her, dear, I was looking through her," 6.2 months before your divorce.

- You will utter "Ask your mother" 3,492 times before your kids turn 15, the same number of football games you will try to watch.

- There is a 1-in-2 chance you will find a way to disprove the adage that "everything goes with khaki."

- 6.8 times per year, on the day that I am in a desperate hurry, you will show up in front of me in the 8-items-or-less express checkout lane with 14 items, all requiring price checks.

- There is an 85 percent chance that if you sit next to me on a plane, you will snore and drool. There is a 30 percent chance that you will hum all the lyrics to Justin Timberlake songs. If so, there's a decent chance you'll get slugged.

- There is a 91 percent chance that when you misdial and wake me up at 2 a.m., you will demand, "What number did I call?" The wrong one, Einstein.

- There's a 99 percent chance you don't want to be reminded how average you are, and wish this column would end so you can find something better to do - for say, 14 minutes.

See ya later Joe. Go have yourself an above-average day.

* Dana Larsen is the editor of the Pilot-Tribune. Reach him at dlarsen@stormlakepilottribune.com